Why the Right Technology Partner Makes Upgrading Easier

Smart business managers admit that they don’t and can’t know everything about the technology that enables their business. Even Steve Jobs acknowledged that he didn’t have all the answers. He explained that his role was not to know everything about every technology out there, it was to see the big picture for his company and the products they were making and hold every facet of the business pointed towards that vision.

You may not be running a multi-billion-dollar enterprise (yet), but your role is similar. Although it may seem like you have to know everything about everything at all times, you really don’t. As the saying goes, the smartest person in the room is not the one with all the answers, it’s the one who knows where to get them. When it comes to upgrading your business communications system, the right technology partner can make getting the right answers a whole lot easier.

TRACKING TECHNOLOGY EVOLUTION IS A PARTNER’S RESPONSIBILITY

The IP-based communications systems and platforms your business relies on are sales and customer service enablers. They provide a variety of communications and collaboration options that maintain that vital link between employees, partners and customers. If the technology isn’t optimized to deliver the features and performance your employees need to work efficiently, you’re not maximizing your operation to address your full revenue potential.

But keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change can be a challenge. With so many options available and just as many performance claims from vendors, it can be difficult to wade through all the data sheets to find the hardware and software that fits your immediate business needs and future upgrade requirements. That’s where a tech-savvy technology partner can make a difference.

Deciphering all the technical claims about speeds and feeds is your partner’s job. A knowledgeable partner will be able to clearly explain the technology, the difference between an update and an upgrade, the reasons why you should be doing both and the best way to approach the process. At the same time, the partner will be able to speak to the security risks of staying with outdated technologies and also explain the security benefits that keeping current will deliver to your business. And if you’re at the stage where you are considering a move to the cloud, your technology partner will be able to help you understand the different cloud deployment models and make it easier to choose the one that best fits your operation.

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION SHOULD BE PAINLESS

The right partner should also be a trusted advisor who is fully aware of the system you already have, the updates and upgrades you can apply immediately to optimize it and the technology evolution the system vendor will follow into the future. With that information, the partner can match your business requirements with the right technology roadmap so that your business doesn’t get painted into a technology corner and isn’t left scrambling to add capabilities in an effort to catch up to the competition.

If your system is several versions behind, chances are that there are new capabilities that could benefit your operation immediately. Many on-premises systems, like Mitel MiVoice Business, are enhanced through regular updates that your partner should be aware of. Every minor software update or major upgrade refines existing capabilities or adds new features designed to streamline work processes and improve efficiency. By unlocking new features, you can take advantage of technology improvements, improve efficiency and increase productivity.

If your system is technologically up-to-date, there are probably infrastructure investments you can make to do more with what you already have, so that you don’t have to replace existing equipment or migrate to the cloud until you’re ready. So, for example, if you have the most current version of MiVoice business, now is a great time to replace disjointed tools with integrated solutions that seamlessly connect to your existing infrastructure. It’s also an ideal time to extend communication capabilities to enable more efficient mobile or remote working while ensuring productivity and tighter collaboration across your organization, anywhere, any time and on any device.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

By working with your partner to manage technology evolution in this way you can optimize the capabilities of your existing system, extend the life of your system and migrate to the cloud at your own pace. The right partner can help you make the incremental choices that will avoid disruptive forklift upgrades and enable a smooth integration of new technology as it is available.

In addition to ensuring you’re always current, a structured and strategic approach to updates and upgrades makes it easier to think about your communication system strategically. Technology integrations can be better planned to coincide with business strategies, such as new market initiatives or a shift to a more distributed or decentralized operation.

Most importantly, the carefully planned and scheduled integration of new technologies, capabilities and features will ensure your communication system is always ready to deliver the latest and greatest email, text, chat, screen-sharing and unified communication capabilities to every desktop, smartphone and handheld device in the office and to remote employees. It makes it easier for you increase productivity and compete in your market space.

MOVING THE ANXIETY UNITS

With all that in mind, take a hard look at your current technology partner and determine whether you’re getting the biggest bang for your communications system investment buck. Your technology partner should be more than a sales outlet for a vendor’s hardware and software, and more than an installer who sells the system, installs it and is never heard from again.

The right partner is an expert in the technology your business relies on, one who cares for your success and can work with you to prepare your business for the future. Through the planned, incremental and careful integration of updates and upgrades in new technologies, that partner can ensure your employees have all the communication tools they need to be as efficient, effective and productive as possible in all their business interactions.

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Why Your Business Needs a Communications Strategy

When it comes to business, regrets are something every owner and manager can do without. Nobody wants to be in a business situation thinking “I should’ve been ready for that.” Effective managers try to avoid those situations by looking ahead, planning for the future, anticipating issues that may impact the business and leaving room to manoeuvre so that the business is agile enough to respond to market situations as they arise. This forward-looking management approach should extend to all facets of a business.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the communications system that is the foundation of their customer service and sales process, many managers don’t look beyond the dial tone they hear when they pick up a handset. But there’s more value to be had from a technologically current and feature-rich communication system than simple dial tone. By looking at your communication system as a strategic asset, you can position your business to deal with any eventuality.

COMMUNICATION IS YOUR BUSINESS

Regardless of which industry you are in, the reality is that you can’t be competitive without a fully optimized communications system. If your employees can’t communicate effectively and efficiently with each other, customers and partners, chances are you are missing out on important customer service requirements and potential revenue opportunities. So, in a way, communication is the key to your success.

That’s why it’s important to regularly take a hard look at what you have and what you should have. Many communications system features that may have seemed unnecessary a few years ago are now table stakes. Likewise, features you thought would improve operations may no longer be delivering the benefits they should be providing.

Therefore, as technology and your business evolve, your communications strategy should, too. It should not be a static concept that you worked on back when having dial tone was the most strategic move you could make. It should be an ongoing process enabled by the key questions that will inform it on the road to the next strategic decision:

-How do my employees collaborate?

-How does my organization handle customer interactions?

-Do our systems integrate well and do they improve efficiency?

-Are we taking advantage of all the new features available or are we behind on updates?

-Do we need to move to the cloud to improve efficiency or can we do more with what we have?

-How are we prepared to harness cloud technologies when it is time to make the move?

COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS SHOULD IMPROVE OPERATIONS

Since there’s no denying that effective communication and collaboration are critical in today’s business environment, a communications strategy can help you improve operations.

Research shows that 85 percent of small businesses agree that efficient communication between different teams is fundamental to staying ahead of the competition. But a poor technology strategy can have serious repercussions on a business and even affect a company’s ability to compete. For example, inefficient communications can cost upwards of $6,000 per employee per year to a small business, even more for an enterprise.

Inefficiencies are created when employees are working with outdated systems that don’t provide the features and capabilities that will optimize their daily work processes. Systems that aren’t integrated with core applications, like CRM, that don’t provide a single unified view of all communications options and that don’t enable team collaboration, video conferencing and anytime, anywhere access to email, text and chat are not adequate any longer. Likewise, systems that offer all those things but are two or three software updates behind are not operating at peak efficiency and may, in fact, be reducing productivity.

Meanwhile, communications technologies continue to evolve and that’s never going to change. So, organizations that don’t view their communications system as a strategic asset, reassess their investments regularly and optimize their systems at every opportunity can find themselves in situations where their communication technology mix does not meet the demands that the business and the market put on them.

STRATEGIC SYSTEMS ARE READY FOR ANYTHING

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on daily operations for businesses of all sizes showed just how strategically important up-to-date communication technology really is. Businesses that had kept pace with ever-changing communications technologies before the pandemic found it easier to enable employees to work remotely. Those that had a less strategic approach to their communication system found that they were ill-equipped to handle the new business reality.

Now, businesses that are sensitive to the winds of change will have a technology investment strategy that ensures they aren’t caught flat footed again. They’ll keep their system as flexible as possible, ready to add functionality as needed and capture opportunities when they arise.

Thinking about your communications system strategically means making a conscious effort to keep pace with technological change so you can do more with what you have now and are ready to upgrade to whatever you need when you need it. It means maximizing the potential of your current system with incremental updates that deliver the integrated email, text, chat, screen-sharing, unified communication, collaboration and video capabilities your employees need to stay connected with colleagues, customers and partners. And it means thinking about your eventual move to the cloud, planning for it and being ready for it when your business needs it.

STRATEGY PUTS YOU IN CONTROL

With a strategic approach to your communications system you can plan to do more with what you have to meet the changing needs of your employees, your customers and your business. You can reap all the business benefits offered by your investment. And you can control how technology evolution affects your operation.

If you’re a MiVoice Business Customer, you already have access to all the key elements you need to maintain strategic control of your communications system. If your system is several versions behind, there are probably new capabilities you can unlock to take advantage of technology improvements you’ve missed. If you have kept your system current with all updates and you are not ready to move to the cloud, you can work with your technology partner to optimize your system by replacing disjointed tools with more tightly integrated solutions that seamlessly connect to your existing infrastructure.

Most importantly, regardless of where you are in your strategy, you’re in control. So, avoid any future regrets about your communication system by thinking about it as a strategic asset that you can leverage to position your business to deal with any eventuality.

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